National League ends 14-year wait for All-Star win

By Gerard Wright

ANAHEIM (Reuters) - The National League eked out a first All-Star game victory in 14 years on Tuesday, securing home-field advantage for their pennant winners in the World Series.

On the day baseball mourned the loss of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, the National League battled back for a 3-1 win after Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann connected for a three-run double to right field in the seventh inning.

"Home-field advantage, definitely, it's a big deal," National League coach Charlie Manuel, whose Philadelphia Phillies have played in the past two World Series, told reporters.

McCann was named the game's Most Valuable Player as the National League won their first All-Star game since a 6-0 victory in 1996.

"This is something you dream about, to be in a situation like that," McCann said of his bases-loaded blast off pitcher Matt Thornton.

American League manager Joe Girardi then opted to send in Boston's Adrian Beltre rather than Yankee star slugger Alex Rodriguez, who was being held back should the tying run get on base.

"I was definitely looking for him (Rodriguez)," Manuel said.

Beltre struck out on a Broxton fastball and in the next at-bat, a shallow drive to right field by Toronto's John Buck had Ortiz caught short at second base.

The game ended when Texas infielder Ian Kinsler was caught in center field for the final out with Rodriguez looking on from the dugout steps.

The passing of Yankees owner Steinbrenner was observed with United States, Canadian and California state flags all flying at half-mast above center field.

As the crowd of 45,408 observed a moment of silence before the game, a fan in the left-field stands called out: "Thank you, Georgie."

Girardi and fellow New York players and coaches at the game all wore black armbands in honor of Steinbrenner.

NL starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez gave up two hits through two scoreless innings where he struck out one batter and walked another.

Southpaw David Price started for the American League and also had two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and recording one strikeout.

Regular season play will resume on Thursday after a three-day break for the All-Star game.

(Editing by Frank Pingue and John O'Brien)